A Cliveden Wedding with a River Thames Celebration

As Oxana is Russian, and Alex is British (although his father is Bulgarian) Alex wanted the proposal to include something very English, so he romantically proposed on the White Cliffs of Dover at sunset. They managed to organize and create a beautiful wedding full of personal touches in just one month!

They reflected their English and Russian heritage beautifully and combined a Russian Orthodox wedding ceremony with the opulent glamour of Cliveden, a traditional London bus and a Thames river cruise aboard ‘The Georgian,’ managing to merge both extravagant Russian flavours with the best of British.

Their wedding was expertly captured by the extremely talented David Pullum Wedding Photography.


Alex is a keen amateur photographer with his own collection of lenses and equipment and after viewing 50 photographer portfolios, David Pullum Wedding Photography was the clear winner: for us, no one else seemed to capture emotion and colour as well as he does. We can’t praise his work enough.

Choosing our wedding venue was easy, we attend the Russian Orthodox Church in Chiswick each Sunday, so it was a natural choice. Additionally we are National Trust members and discovered Cliveden 2 years ago and instantly fell in love with the grounds. Since then we have regularly visited throughout the year, each time discovering something new – it’s our favorite getaway place close to London.

We chose our entertainment to include our families and to reflect both our personalities and passions. Alex’s father is a concert cellist and performed at the reception venue before the speeches. For our evening’s celebrations, we decided to do something a little different so booked a boat to moor up along the banks of the hotel’s grounds. We used the boat for the after dinner party with DJ and dancing. Also, we’re both keen salsa dancers (that’s how we met) so provided a non-stop dancing show, which was great fun and really got the party moving.

We really loved our wedding day. It was one continuous surprise for everyone – for example no one knew about the bus until it turned up, or the fact the reception venue would be at Cliveden or even the boat. This kept everyone on the edge, keen to see what next would happen. We’re very laid back informal people and the idea of printing out an itinerary, so all knew what would happen before it happened, was just not us. It was an immensely personal day with only closest family & friends, and Alex’s father performing, at our favourite National Trust property made it really special. Wherever we could, there were personal touches such as the invites which we handmade ourselves. Also Oxana is a professional mural artist and painted the icons we needed for the ceremony.

We organized the wedding in 1 month! To be more precise at the start of the year we knew we wanted to get married in 2010 as we have been delaying it for ages, but could decide exactly when. Oxana bought the dress on a early trip to Moscow and then in late April we finally decided to do it May, fixed dates that would work both at the church & Cliveden with then left us exactly a month to organize the rest.

Organising it last minute became a huge emotional rollercoaster (especially considering some guests needed visas to come to the UK) but we didn’t like the idea of taking a year to do it all – too painful! The downside was such short notice meant not all our friends & relatives could come.

Our best idea was to make the most of what appeared to be setbacks – they ended up being highlights of the day. The church and Cliveden were about 40 minutes apart, so to make the most of the time spent we hired a London bus and played some of our favorite Beatles tracks which we all sang along to whilst drinking champagne - unforgettable! Also Cliveden doesn’t allow amplified music unless you take exclusive use of the entire hotel, so we hired a boat that we could access from the grounds. Cruising down the Thames under the moon & stars, dancing on the open top deck, and later inside, was simply magical, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect end to a perfect day!

  • 1 comments "A Cliveden Wedding with a River Thames Celebration"

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  • Emily Cabe says

    24th October 2010 at 2:55 am

    A romantic and fairytale wedding. Everyone looks like they are having a lot of fun.

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